Owning a CrossFit gym is arguably one of the most exciting and challenging business endeavors a fitness professional can face. The competition is stiff, and many professionals are unaware of the common problems and concerns they may face or how to solve them. Although the CrossFit industry has a low failure rate for businesses, many owners don’t know how to identify the typical trouble areas or prepare themselves to minimize the legalities and consequences.
Take a look at the 9 most popular CrossFit gym problems that Affiliate owners face and some recommended strategies to solve them.
Introduction to CrossFit Gym Problems:
- Low Customer Turnout
- Difficulty Retaining Memberships
- Unwelcoming to Beginners
- Premises-Related Injuries and Accidents
- High Operating Costs
- Bad Customer Service
- Ineffective Marketing
- Bad Online Reviews
- Insufficient Equipment or Facilities
Low Customer Turnout
Large membership bases aren’t built overnight. Sadly, that means startup gym owners face an uphill battle of attracting members, and gaining and maintaining their loyalty. Fitness professionals should prepare themselves to work smarter, not harder to overcome this disadvantage.
CrossFit gym operators and trainers need to come up with ways to tap into the customer market while strategizing for growth. At first, it might not seem like there’s much to do, because the customers keep trickling in. But what happens when that trickle slows or stops? Without a solid plan to diversify and attract members, no matter how good your services are, revenue and membership growth will eventually become stagnant.
It’s crucial for fitness professionals to take time to research the industry to identify and capitalize on the trends that are popular in their communities so they can build and maintain their clientele with minimal effort, resources, and stress.
Difficulty Retaining Memberships
CrossFit gym professionals need more than catchy advertising and marketing ploys to retain memberships. It might not seem like it, but the easy part was getting them through the door. The challenging part is getting them to convert into long-term members.
The key to membership retention is providing everything customers want, and that includes taking the initiative to anticipate their needs. By offering the best services, amenities, and experience possible from the start, gym operators gain access to unique and not so obvious opportunities to increase member retention. Some good areas to focus on are requesting feedback regularly, being available and personable, and offering products and services tailored to the CrossFit industry to better help them with meeting and exceeding their fitness goals. Also, don’t be afraid to change things up with new amenities, products, training schedules, etc.
Unwelcoming to Beginners
CrossFit is a highly competitive niche. Many individuals become interested in CrossFit after seeing others train hard on television shows, movies, and at the gym. Many don’t realize it, but CrossFit is suitable for all ages. Gym operators who fail to diversify or create a safe, welcoming environment for clients of all walks of life are doing themselves a disservice. Not only do they risk alienating new members and beginners, but they also compromise their business’ reputation, profits, and growth.
Premises-Related Injuries and Accidents
It might seem like a no brainer, but safety should be the top priority for every fitness professional and CrossFit gym owner. Many professionals fail to take layout, repairs and maintenance, staff negligence, and other critical factors into account with regard to how they relate to member safety.
Ideally, safety should take center stage during the formation stages to mitigate the possibility of accidents due to overcrowding, inadequate equipment spacing, electrical problems, slip and fall risks and other premises-related issues that commonly lead to member or staff injuries and unsafe conditions. Gym owners should take every reasonable precaution to keep their facilities safe to prevent accidents and injuries so they can avoid the legal and financial consequences.
High Operating Costs
It’s important to keep in mind that CrossFit gyms are Affiliates. They, unlike other types of fitness centers and gyms, are not franchises. Owners are responsible for all direct and indirect business expenses, including lease payments, facility maintenance and repairs, utilities, liability and property insurance, payroll, marketing, and other incidentals. Without proper financial planning and resources, operating a CrossFit gym can become a money pit if one is not careful.
CrossFit professionals can avoid financial problems by calculating their operating costs, membership goals, and different revenue streams to cover their expenses and increase their profits. Also, having a budget, emergency fund, and a detailed pricing and membership model are invaluable.
Bad Customer Service
One of the quickest ways to lose customers and business is bad customer service. Although this applies to all industries, bad customer service in the fitness industry is a surefire business killer. It’s not enough for CrossFit business owners and staff to treat their clients with respect, they should also be friendly, caring, and professional.
Customer service has a huge impact on the overall member experience, and all it takes is a few snarky comments, poorly received jokes, distasteful criticism, or poor training guidance to lose clients. Fitness professionals can avoid this problem by providing excellent customer service, consistently training their staff, enforcing accountability, and evaluating ongoing feedback from clients to ensure timely and proper complaint resolution.
Bad marketing really speaks for itself. CrossFit gym owners who rely on unproven or saturated marketing and advertising ploys risk their reputation and clientele base. It’s important to research and learn marketing tactics that enhance the gym’s brand while promoting its services to the right audience.
For example, advertising an upcoming CrossFit competition might seem like a good idea if you’re trying to attract more experienced enthusiasts, but it does nothing to capture the attention of new or novice clients. If you want to maximize your marketing outreach, you’ll need to diversify your strategies and revamp them as necessary.
Bad Online Reviews
Reputation management is important. Yet, many startups overlook customer reviews until it’s too late. The easiest way to mitigate bad online reviews is to provide members with everything they want. Since that’s not possible, the next best thing is to diversify, gather feedback, make improvements, and pay attention to trainer, staff and facility related complaints and accolades.
Because there are tons of places online for customers to share reviews, many fitness professionals don’t have the time to scour the web to find them. Fortunately, there are brand management services for those who have the resources to invest, although they’re not required. At the very least, CrossFit professionals should regularly check for reviews about their business or services online, respond professionally and try to rectify any poor or negative reviews they find. It’s not possible to please everyone, but taking accountability and attempting to resolve any customer complaints and issues can go a long way in promoting, protecting, and growing a gym business.
Insufficient Equipment or Facilities
Broken, damaged, old, and worn-out equipment and facilities that are in disarray or in need of repairs are a huge no-no. Not only do these indicate to members that their health and safety are not priorities, but they also scream liability. No one wants to go to a gym with equipment so outdated or poorly maintained that the risk of injury outweighs the benefits of use. The same goes for the gym building.
Besides investing in equipment and property, maintenance, repairs, sanitation, and upgrades as needed, it’s essential to have a good gym insurance policy to help offset the costs of potential claims and offer members additional protection should they become injured or have a problem while onsite.
Make no mistake about it, running a gym or fitness center is not as easy as it looks. And while there are many copycats out there, the most successful CrossFit gym operators know that research and preparation are key.
CrossFit RRG is committed to helping fitness professionals and facility operators avoid problems that can interrupt their operations. To learn more about our CrossFit insurance products, contact us today!